Eating better food for less and other tales from a no-moneymoon

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We Have Met the Enemy...

..and it is my baking.

Flour, butter, sugar, eggs -- please meet some of my very good friends. In thrifting mode, baking's a great way to make something that's tasty and satisfying, and it can even be a sophisticated departure from the hum drum of home-made. (Don't get me wrong: Home-made is great, until you crave a little going out grub...I have a solution for that dilemma, now.)

So when I started cutting back on food bills, my baking got the best of me. And now that I'm cutting back on the calories, baking's taken a back seat in my kitchen and only comes out to play when we have friends visiting.

Which is how this divine jam cake materialized. The last piece is pictured above, but this bit of yumminess was made for our Sunday dinner with a friend. And best of all, this cake came together using one of my favorite thrifty tactics: find recipes that use as many of the ingredients you already have on hand.

So, I had the makings for a cake (the aforementioned baking buddies butter-flour-sugar-eggs) and found a really straightforward Yellow Cake from the good folks at I baked the cake in one 9-inch pan, for about 15 minutes longer than the recipe calls for. Then split it in half to create two layers. I didn't have cake flour and it worked fine with regular.
But I needed something to put between its buttery and pretty moist layers. That's where the Grapefruit-Ginger Preserves came in. I made the preserves to compliment a pan of Rosemary Cornbread that I brought to a picnic on Saturday. I preserved (ha!) about half the batch and its sweet, slightly spicy flavor soaked into the yellow cake beautifully once I spread it between the cake's layers and on top. The preserves were inspired by...yes, ingredients I had on hand, which over the weekend were a ton of grapefruit that we'd ignored all week. After locating the recipe at a site called and purchasing a little ginger, I had everything I needed for this gooey goodness.
Sweet Ending...
With all that sweetness, I needed to add some creaminess. Cream? Yeah, that's good. 1 pint whipped cream + 2 T. granulated sugar. Whip it. Dump white cloud of goodness on top of cake. Cream was the sole ingredient I had to purchase.

Delicious mix of sweet, crumbly, creamy.
Under $3 of purchased ingredients.
Sweet ending to a lovely evening. Sweet start as leftovers on the two mornings thereafter.
Nutrition: 0.

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